Bellator 106 is this weekend, and despite the publicity hit that Bellator took for moving the card to free TV and off of PPV, they did the right thing. Bellator 106 now sits as probably the company’s strongest card ever on free TV, even without the Tito Ortiz versus Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson bout. There are three title defenses on the card, including the main event of Michael Chandler versus Eddie Alvarez II. Let’s take a look at the rest of the card.
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The Muhammad Lawal versus Emmanuel Newton match is also a rematch, and it comes with a good bit of backstory. Lawal is with Bellator as one of their signature stars, as they signed him as a building block for the future. Enter Newton, a solid if non-descript MMA artist who promptly KO’s Lawal.
Since then, Lawal has been in the press talking about how the first fight was a ‘fluke’, and Newton has taken notice. Unfortunately for Newton, one win over Lawal was not enough to have him break out as a star for Bellator, perhaps a second win would do it. This is for an interim title as well, with the winner getting champion Atilla Vegh presumably in season 10. Lawal will be a wide favorite for this fight with Newton, and likely for the showdown with Vegh as well.
The third title match, between challenger Daniel Straus and champion Pat Curran is, as the cliche goes, a fight with fight of the night potential. Straus is as tested as they will come in Bellator, as he lost in hos first tournament but returned to break through and capture the title in a second tournament to earn the shot. He is 21-4 overall, with one of those losses coming in 2009 to Curran, so this is a rematch as well. Curran will be favored in this fight, as he has really grown since earning the Bellator title. Curran took the title from Joe Warren, and then successfully defende dit against Patricio Freiere and Shahbulat Shamhalaev. Unlike some other weight classes where Bellator is very talent thin, Curran has fought some solid competition and emerged in a class by himself.